Three days after a controversy following his death, Zionnghaka, better known as Ziona, the patriarch of what is believed to be the world’s largest family will be finally laid to rest on Thursday amid pious tribute, family sources said.
The funeral of the Chhuanthar community chief, who lived with his family in central Mizoram’s Serchhip district, will be held at 10:45 am at his mansion- “Chhuanthar Run,” under strict COVID-19 protocols, the sources said.
Members of Chhuanthar Military Band party will perform during the funeral to give a pious tribute and farewell to the departed soul, the source added.
The priest of Lalpa Kohhran Thar, the religious sect which Ziona had headed, will perform the last rite, the sources added.
Ziona died of complications related to diabetes, hypertension and old age on Sunday around 3 pm.
He remained unconscious after being treated at his residence and was taken to Trinity Hospital in Aizawl, where doctors declared him “brought dead.”
Trinity hospital director Dr Lalrintluanga Zahau had said that the patriarch was already dead by the time he was brought to the hospital.
Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) was performed to revive him but to no avail, he had said.
As per Mizo tradition, he was supposed to be buried on Monday. However, his family and members of the religious community refused to bury him as they were not convinced about his death. They claimed that the leader regained a pulse after he was brought to his residence and that his body was still warm and not stiff.
Later, the family declared that the leader passed away finally on Monday around 9 pm.
Sources said that his body will be laid at the holy or sacred place of the sect.
Ziona was married to 39 wives, of which 38 are still alive. He has more than 90 children and over 30 grandchildren. More than 180 family members live in his four-storey mansion located at Baktawng village in Serchhip district about 60 km from Aizawl.
After the death of his father Chana in 1997, Ziona headed the religious sect founded by his uncle Khuangtuaha around 79 years ago.
The total number of his followers is estimated to be about 2500 belonging to 433 families. The religious sect was referred to by the locals as “Chana Pawl” (Chana’s sect/group), while the sect members referred to it as “Lalpa Kohhran thar” (New Church of God). It is more or less a millennial denomination as it believes in millenarianism.
The religious head is given high respect and treated almost equal to God. The sect allowed its male members to be polygamous.
Their community is called “Lalruat Chhuanthar ” or Chhuanthar (the new generation established by God). Chhuanthar is sometimes used to refer to the religious sect.
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